GA: Police departments report zero citations for face mask violations

Mask Enforcement 0 Comments 07/30/2020 

"the requirements to wear a largely symbolic"

More than a dozen cities and counties have defied Gov. Brian Kemp to adopt a mask mandate to contain the spread of the coronavirus, but an Atlanta Journal-Constitution review shows that the requirements are rarely, if ever, enforced.

The legal requirement to wear face coverings is a key part of Kemp’s lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms that contends the mask mandate and other coronavirus restrictions are unenforceable and too restrictive, and the case could determine whether other cities are allowed to keep the requirements on their books.

But the AJC analysis shows that the requirements to wear a mask, which top public health experts agree is a leading way to stem the disease outbreak, is largely symbolic. The AJC contacted 15 police departments and law enforcement agencies in the cities, suburbs and small towns that enacted the restrictions. Not a single citation was reported.

That’s in part by design. When Savannah became the first city in Georgia in June to enact a mask mandate — and threaten a $500 fine to violators — Mayor Van Johnson framed it as a way to urge residents and visitors to trust public health experts. Savannah police were required to offer violators face coverings and deliver warnings before they could write a ticket.

“We will never be accused of not doing everything that we can to fight for our city,” Johnson said earlier this month. “Savannah will do what we can to take care of its citizens.”

Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz, whose city adopted a mask mandate on July 7, said the rules were always meant to be more of a deterrent than a criminal penalty. He compared it to anti-littering statutes on the books.

People wearing masks exit a Uber on East Clayton Street in downtown Athens, Ga., on July 10, 2020. The Athens-Clarke Commission approved a mandate on wearing masks when in public places and inside commercial establishments. The mandate went into effect on July 9. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

Credit: Joshua L. Jones

“We don’t want to give a bunch of tickets to people because there’s overflowing trash. We just want people to be good neighbors,” said Girtz. “And the mask ordinance sets out to do that. We’ve learned a lot about how important masks are — that masks equal safety.”

‘Holding pattern’

A new executive order that Kemp signed on July 15 adds another wrinkle. It explicitly outlaws mask ordinances, prompting some police departments that might have otherwise enforced local restrictions to back off citing potential violators.

“We are pretty much in a holding pattern,” Union City Police Officer Jerome Turner said. “But we are expecting our residents and visitors to follow the city ordinance and the CDC guidelines for wearing masks.”

Union City, in south Fulton County, is among a number of municipalities that reported no mask citations. Others include Atlanta, Athens, Augusta-Richmond County, Rome and Savannah.

Likewise for the metro Atlanta suburbs of Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody and Fairburn. The police departments in East Point, College Park and the city of South Fulton didn’t respond to a request for details.

Atlanta Police Sgt. John Chafee said the department isn’t keeping track of verbal warnings, but no officers have written tickets.

More governments are fast joining the list. Macon-Bibb County recently approved a resolution requiring face coverings, as did the city of Clarkston. So did DeKalb County, though it included an exception for “conscientious objectors.”

Local officials are monitoring the legal feud between Bottoms and Kemp, which is headed for mediation. The mayor called Kemp last week to initiate talk of a settlement over the lawsuit, which contends cities can’t adopt more restrictive measures than the state.

‘Get past this'

Kemp filed the lawsuit shortly after Atlanta adopted its mask mandate as well as “phase one” economic restrictions that urge restaurants to halt dine-in services and encourage residents to stay home if possible.

The legal complaint contends that Atlanta’s regulations have sparked confusion because they conflict with Kemp’s statewide order, which has lifted a shelter-in-place advisory for most Georgia residents and allows businesses to reopen if they follow guidelines.

“This is about the lives and livelihoods of Georgians,” said Kemp, who has encouraged the use of masks but said he doesn’t believe a mandate would be effective.

Georgia Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex, (right) speaks with Cody Hall (left), press secretary for Gov. Brian Kemp, during a solidarity protest to show support for Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at the Georgia State Capitol Building on Thursday, July 23, 2020. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)


“We cannot be afraid of this virus. To be smart and be scared of it, that’s a good thing. You should wear your mask. But we also have to learn to continue to operate.”

While the mayor has said Kemp “overstepped his bounds,” she has tried to tone down the angry back-and-forth between the two camps over the last few days. Both sides are set to negotiate before a 10 a.m. hearing on Tuesday.

Until an agreement is reached — or a judge rules — confusion among law enforcement agencies is likely to continue.

Avondale Estates City Manager Patrick Bryant said the governor’s order has rendered the DeKalb County town’s restrictions “null and void,” while Fairburn Police Deputy Chief Anthony Bazydlo said his agency is waiting on clarification before enforcing the order.

In Northwest Georgia, Rome’s assistant police chief, Debbie Burnett, lamented that civil infractions, such as not wearing a mask, are already difficult to enforce.

“I just wish everyone would wear a mask so we can get past this thing,” she said.

   - November 19, 2020A team of Irish medical and public health professionals recently published a White Paper entitled “COVID-19 Alternative Strategy: A Case for Health and Socioeconomic Wellbeing,” calling for an “evidence-based” approach to pandemic management. In the paper, the team provides a cost-benefit analysis of lockdowns and scrutinizes their overall efficacy while ...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  11/19/2020 
   - September 18, 2020AbstractBackground:Observational evidence suggests that mask wearing mitigates transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is uncertain if this observed association arises through protection of uninfected wearers (protective effect), via reduced transmission from infected mask wearers (source control), or both.Objective:To assess whether rec...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  11/18/2020 
   Abstract There is no biological history of mass masking until the current era. It is important to consider possible outcomes of this society-wide experiment. The consequences to the health of individuals is as yet unknown. Masked individuals have measurably higher inspiratory flow than non-masked individuals. This study is of new masks removed from manufacturer packaging, as well as a laundered cl...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  11/17/2020 
   Download the PDF attachment below....  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  11/14/2020 
   Download the PDF attachment by clicking Download below....  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  11/14/2020 
   Download the PDF by clicking the attachment link below....  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  11/14/2020 
   LInk: Jon Rappoport's view on this document: document presents considerations from the perspective of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) for implementing the shielding approach in...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  11/02/2020 

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

Definitive study establishes conclusively not only that masks don't work, but WHY.
Category: Published Studies: Masks are INEFFECTIVE
curated by Marilyn M. Singleton, M.D., J.D. – September 26, 2020IntroductionCOVID-19 is as politically-charged as it is infectious. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO, the CDC and NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci discouraged wearing masks as not useful for non-health care workers. Now they recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public setting...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  10/18/2020 
   - October 06, 2020[Open the link above to to view the charts which reveal there is no correlation (or "clear science") behind the use of masks and rates of "infection".] Excerpt:In case it isn’t obvious, these charts fail to show any correlation between mask mandates (which presumably increase the wearing of masks) and reductions in COVID-19 infections. If you l...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  10/07/2020 
   From: July 10, 2020The ADA and Small Business: Frequently Asked Questions About Face Mask Policies and Serving Customers with Disabilities.The Great Plains ADA Center has received many questions regarding face mask policies and the ADA from the business community. We have collected a summary of these questions and our...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  10/02/2020 

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